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Volume 18, Number 18, April 28, 2004
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An independent U.N. panel will conduct an inquiry into allegations of impropriety in the administration and management of the Iraq Oil-for-Food Programme.
The members of the independent panel will have the authority to access all relevant United Nations records and information, written or unwritten, and to interview all relevant United Nations officials and personnel. The panel is authorized to obtain records
and interviews from persons unaffiliated with the UN who may have knowledge relevant to the inquiry, including allegations of impropriety. It is also authorized to seek cooperation from UN Member States to conduct its inquiry. The Security Council today adopted
unanimously a resolution welcoming the appointment of the panel and calling upon the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), Iraq and all other Member States – including their national regulatory authorities – to fully cooperate with the inquiry.
Anan says 'Don't blame U.N. and the Secretariat'
In candid remarks made last Thursday to a press scrum, the U.N. Secretary General said, "I think it is unfortunate that there have been so many allegations, and some of it is being handled as if they were facts, and this is why we need to have this investigation done."
Anan pointed out that despite some corruption of the process, much good was accomplished through the programme and that some elements of its infrastructure may be helpful for planned elections.
"And in all this what has been lost is the fact that the Oil-for-Food Programme did provide relief to the Iraqi population;" added Anan, "every household was touched. With the government, we set up one of the best distribution systems, to such an extent that even some suggested we should use the distribution cards for elections, to show you how pervasive [it was]. So that should not be overlooked. The fact that there may have been wrongdoing by a few, should not destroy the work that many hard working U.N. staff did.
"And secondly," he continued, "if the Iraqi government has smuggled oil and done all sorts of things, I don't think it is fair to lump it all together and blame the U.N. and the Secretariat. Because there are things that were definitely beyond our control, not only the Secretariat, but even the Member States. And so, once the issues have been looked at and separated, I hope people will put things in perspective and will be able to get the facts out. And I'm very keen on Mr. [Paul] Volcker, Judge [Richard] Goldstone and Mr. [Mark] Pieth to really get to work and give us a report as soon as possible."
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